Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Siege of Barcelona 1714

Barcelona at the time of the siege 1714 - Born is the district in the bottom right

On a recent trip to Barcelona I accidentally stumbled across what I initially believed to be a Roman archaeological exhibition in the Born Market. The magnificent excavated ruins of complete buildings, streets and waterways are breathtaking.

A small portion of the 1,000 destroyed houses which lie below modern Barcelona

As I read the display boards I noticed references in Spanish to the Bourbons, Habsburgs and 1714!
I quickly realised  that I was looking at something much more recent than Roman remains!

The Siege of Barcelona 1714 book - the illustrations are rich and plentiful

The Bourbon bombardment of Barcelona.

Attacking into the breach  - this is the area on which the new citadel was built after the war.

Another of the book's many colour illustrations

Catalan infantryman from the 1714 book 

More unifomr information from the 1714 book

A return visit two days later revealed that what I was looking at was the ruin of the Born district of Barcelona which was destroyed on the orders of King Philip V after his storming of the city. The levelling was to enable the construction of an enormous citadel to guard the Spanish against the Catalans! This act seems to be the point d'appui for the huge animus prevalent in Catalonia towards Spain and Madrid. It serves as a rallying call for Catalan separatism and .. you guessed it, another connection to the political significance of our pet period in the modern world!

This book on the armies of Catalunya is extensively illustrated

Els Exercits de Catalunya (1713-1714)

Els Exercits de Catalunya (1713-1714)

Els Exercits de Catalunya (1713-1714)

I will feature pictures of the substantial excavation of 17th/18th century Barcelona in a subsequent post but here I want to share some extraordinarily high quality books on the Battle/Siege of Barcelona in 1714, Catalonian troops of the War of the Spanish Succession 1713/14 and uniform plates and prints of beautifully crafted artwork.

Three books are now in my possession; 1714 El setge de Barcelona, Els Exercits de Catalunya (1713-1714) and Born 1714 Memoria de Barcelona.

The book on the history of the Born district of the city and its role in the great siege

From the Born book - inspiring the final Catalan resistance to the siege

Beautiful plate of the last glorious charge against the Bourbons through Born


  1. Cool, available on Amazon.

  2. Barry

    what a really great find

    Mark S

    1. Will bring 'em on Sunday if you want a look Mark

  3. of course I meant Friday, clearly wishing I have TILL Sunday to get everything else ready for tomorrow! :(

  4. Barry

    thank you


  5. I've recently read a historical ficticious book about the siege of Barcelona.
    Very interesting as it also got several very good plans and maps in it.
    Victus by Albert Sanchez Pinol.

    Near Barcelona (Figueres to be precise), you could also visit the Castell de Sant Ferran. This is the largest 18th C fortification in Europe. Very much worth a visit as it got a large collection of toy soldiers and maquettes of other Spanish fortifications and fortified towns.

  6. Be careful with some publications in Catalan provinces about that era, there are a lot of myths... Sadly, separatist try to re write the history. That siege was Spaniards vs Spaniards, Bourbons vs Austracists but never Spaniards vs Catalans! There were Bourbon Catalans and Austracists in Castille, a lot indeed. That is why I prefer 1697 French siege of Barcelona hehehe because the fighters are French vs Spanish and is our period, the LoA war ;)




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